Pittsburgh Artist Tom Mosser Announces Art Exhibit Featuring Large Portraits

“Really Big Faces” has a very large space.

The 70 larger-than-life portraits created by Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser will be showcased June 18 at Energy Innovation Center in the hill district.

A hallway and adjoining room with 40-foot ceilings spanning more than 15,000 square feet will be filled with the faces of Pittsburghers.

“The building was an eye opener for me,” said Mosser, of Tom Mosser Design. “It’s an absolute dream space. The location offers a spectacular view of the city center. It’s perfect for what I want to be a celebration of Pittsburghers and Pittsburgh itself…and our rise after two tough years.

Mosser started the project in 2019. He took photos of friends and began painting their faces on 5’8″ x 4’8″ canvases.

Each look is created from a hand-drawn design. The subjects have what he calls “the Mona Lisa smile”.

Initially scheduled for March 2020, it was postponed due to the pandemic.

Courtesy of Tom Mosser

Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser (left) takes a photo of businessman David Motley at Mosser’s Etna studio.

“Really Big Faces” will be the first guest exhibition.

An in-house art exhibition was held in October. Another is planned for May on steel foundry patterns – just in time to host the Association for Iron & Steel Technology conference to be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown.

“Tom’s art is amazing,” said Cory Bonnet, arts corridor director for Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation, an organization that works with start-ups, private businesses and community initiatives that connect economic development to underserved neighborhoods. serviced, located in the Energy Innovation Centre. “Seeing all those friendly faces will be a positive experience. I see them as unmasked faces.


Courtesy of Tom Mosser

Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser works on the portrait of Pennsylvania’s second lady Gisele Barreto Fetterman (wife of Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman) at Mosser’s Etna studio.

Subjects include Mosser’s fiancée, Mara Lorusso, a physical therapist assistant and now rehab liaison; former mayor Bill Peduto (with his beard); concert promoter Rich Engler and his wife Cindy; “Pittsburgh Dad” Curt Wooten and his baby; the founder of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, William Strickland Jr.; dancer and choreographer Maria Caruso; and Second Lady of Pennsylvania Gisele Barreto Fetterman (wife of Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman).

“Tom is so talented,” Barreto Fetterman said. “His paintings are so precise. It looks like the picture he took of me. It’s incredible.”

Mosser chose people of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. There are broadcasters, a filmmaker, a tennis coach, dentists, a singer, a dancer, cancer survivors, a native of Ukraine, people with disabilities, single parents and healthcare workers. Her beloved golden retriever Lucas will be commemorated in the show.


Courtesy of Tom Mosser

At his Etna studio, Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser kisses the portrait of his dog Lucas.

Mosser discovered the location when David Motley, a Pittsburgh businessman and Gateways Corporation board member and one of the subjects, suggested it.

Mosser, who lives in the East End of Pittsburgh and has a studio on Mount Etna, uses a circular “loop” technique and a flow technique with bright colors of acrylics and house paint. It uses wooden portions of brushes and incorporates funnels.

“I hover over the canvas as paint pours from a rod or funnel,” he said. “It’s a long meditative process because I have to let the paintings dry overnight.”

Mosser describes his work as “the drawing style of Bernie Fuchs, the drip painting method of Jackson Pollock, and the color palette and design elements of Pittsburgh icon Andy Warhol”.

Mosser includes subject-related symbolisms such as the patterns of Marine Corps camouflage uniforms and the design of a Ukrainian flag.


Courtesy of Tom Mosser

Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser has made over 1,600 self-portraits.

He made more than 1,600 self-portraits. People can also recognize his work in various arenas and national sporting events.

“When I take a photo very often, you can see me in the reflection of their eyes, which I love,” Mosser said. “We all visualize a better future. I want every portrait to convey that. Each person has a story to celebrate.

No work will be for sale.

“It’s so important to collaborate,” said Bonnet, an oil painter and curator. “When you collaborate with others, it makes what you do even greater.”

Yes, really big.

The event is free. The hours will be from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The faces will be exhibited at the center for three weeks.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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Reggie S. Williams